Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira

Laurel started writing to Kurt Cobain, Janice Joplin, Judy Garland, Amelia Earhart, and Amy Winehouse as a way to be closer to her sister. It started as an English assignment: write to a famous dead person. They all died too young, and that's what happened to her sister. Everyone wants to know what happened that night on the bridge, but she can't tell them. She hardly knows herself. What would she say anyway...that she couldn't save her own sister?

High school is a wasteland without May. Everything is dimmer, lackluster, washed out. Laurel is lucky enough to find a few friends that help her get through the days. She knows that she has to maintain a certain semblance of normalcy or her dad and her aunt will flip. Her mom has taken off for an undisclosed amount of time to "find herself" - whatever that means. Doesn't she know that Laurel needs her?

So she talks to dead people, and they help her deal with the fact that her world is upside down. Going to a new school was supposed to help. She wouldn't be the girl who's sister died. She even manages to attract the attention of a boy. He knows who she is, or at least he knows who her sister is...was...

Sky is her lifeline, and it seems like he could be the one to pull her out of the tailspin she's in, but is that really fair? Can she put that on him, and does she want to? He keeps asking what's wrong just like everyone else, and she can't tell him. At some point, it's too much for him. Just like her friends: Natalie and Hannah. Natalie only has eyes for Hannah, but Hannah can't seem to handle their relationship in public. She flaunts her string of boyfriends in front of Natalie to a point where is seems they can't go on.

Can Laurel find a way to let go of the past before it destroys all of her relationships? Can she find a way to forgive her sister and move forward?

*Library Link*
"When we were walking to the parking lot, Natalie said to Hannah, 'I made the tulip that way, I made it a painting, because now you'll always have it. It can't wilt or die.' Natalie had taken what's ephemeral and turned it into something that Hannah can keep. Hannah looked at Natalie like she was trying to make herself understand what it means to have someone love you like that.
  At least that's what I imagined, because I know that it can be hard to believe that someone loves you if you are afraid of being yourself, or if you are not exactly sure who you are. It can be hard to believe that someone won't leave," (Dellaira pg. 145, 2014).
If you liked this, check out:
Since You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson
The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson
Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

Dellaira, Ava. (2014). Love Letters to the Dead: A novel. New York : Farrar Straus Giroux. 

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin (Mara Dyer Trilogy, Book 1)

Mara wakes up in a hospital bed, and the first thing she can really focus on is the yellow roses. No matter what is going on, at least the roses mean her best friend Rachel must be here. Even that is empty, though, they are from Rachel's parents and Rachel is gone...forever. She can't remember what happened or why they were even visiting the asylum that night, but everyone is looking to her for answers.

Instead of answers, all she has is nightmares and hallucinations. PTSD the doctors say, and they want to commit her. She convinces her mother that a move will be enough; moving away from the ghosts of her friends and all the questions she can't answer.

Florida is almost like another punishment. Private school is another circle of hell, and the first thing she does is have an episode and pass out in class. She manages to invoke the ire of one of the most popular girls in school. Luckily, she also manages to make a friend. Jaime shows her the ropes a little, and tries to warn her off the hot British guy, Noah, who keeps teasing her. He couldn't really be flirting...

Besides, she has enough to deal with: she's seeing AND hearing dead people. No matter what happens to you, she knows that is crazy. Even weirder things happen around her: an abusive dog owner drops dead the exact way she pictures it in her mind. And that Noah guy won't leave her alone. She finally agrees to go out with him...and he kind of wins her over. The weird stuff doesn't stop though, and soon it seems like it may be bigger than she ever imagined.
"Things were changing. Sweat pebbled my skin, even though I knew it wasn't possible. It wasn't possible. I was in class at nine this morning, when that bastard died. He had to have died earlier. The coroner, or whoever he was, was wrong. Even he'd said he was just guessing.
  That was it. I imagined my conversation with him. I'd thought he snuck up on me too quietly, but he didn't sneak up on me at all. He was already dead. The whole thing was just another hallucination - par for the course, really, considering my PTSD.
  But still. Today felt...different. Confirmation that I was now crazier than I'd known it was possible for me to be. My mother worked with only the mildly disturbed. I was full on delusional. Abnormal. Psychotic," (Hodkin pg. 103, 2011).
*Library Link*

If you liked this, check out:

The Evolution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin (Mara Dyer Trilogy, Book 2)
Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi (Shatter Me, Book 1)
Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo (Shadow and Bone, Book 1)

Hodkin, Mara. (2011). The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer. New York: Simon & Schuster BFYR.

The Vigilante Poets of Selwyn Academy by Kate Hattemer

They have to take a stand. This co-opting of their school by the reality show "For Art's Sake" has gotten way out of hand. At least, that's what Luke thinks. He's kind of the leader of their motley foursome. He always has been, almost since forever. So even though Ethan's desperate crush of 100 years Maura Heldsman is a contestant on the show, he gets behind Luke's cause.

What you have to know first is that Selwyn is an arts academy. It isn't your run-of-the-mill public high school. Every morning they each spend an hour and a half practicing whatever discipline they want to perfect. Jackson is a nerdy cyber super genius, Elizabeth is an art goddess in day glow, Ethan is a less than stellar artist and an okay musician, and Luke is a wordsmith (and of course, their mascot, Baconnaise the gerbil). Maura is a dancer, Miki Frigging Reagler is a drama kid, and so on. That's the best part of Selwyn: the diversity and the art.

When the vice principal and the plastic blonde co-host, Trisha, came swooping in with the reality TV show, at first it seemed like it could be a decent idea: good press for the school, a scholarship for the winner, and fame never hurts either! The longer the season goes on, however, the more obvious it seems that everything is scripted and edited using "frankenbiting" tactics (selective splicing of footage to create a desired storyline that may not fit with reality).

They learn about the Cantos in BradLee's English class, how Ezra Pound used it as a way to fight back against tyranny and speak out against oppression, and to challenge the established language. BradLee gets what they are fighting against. It's this that inspires Luke to create the Contracantos. What is the Contracantos? A subversive newsletter aimed at the money making machine of For Art's Sake and all those involved, calling for a return to the true purpose of the school: creating art. How is that going to go over with Vice Principal (Serpent Vice) Coluber, Trisha, and their cronies?
"Selwyn? Sell-outs! That's who we are.
We're orbiting an ersatz star.
We used to spend our time creating
But now we walk the halls awaiting
The latest, greatest Nielsen rating.
-THE CONTRACANTOS," (Hattemer pg. 76, 2014).
*Library Link*

If you liked this, check out:

The Museum of Intangible Things by Wendy Wunder
The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider
Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green

Hattemer, Kate. (2014). The Vigilante Poets of Selwyn Academy. New York : Alfred A. Knopf.

Emerald Green by Kersten Gier (Ruby Red, Book 3)


Gwen is sick of all this time travel nonsense. She just wants to be heartbroken like any other teenage girl and mope around all the time. How could she have been so stupid. Of course Gideon was under St. Germain's thumb, of course he was using her...I mean, the guy can read minds, right? There's no way someone that good looking would fall for someone like her. She just wants to curl up and die, preferably under her bed, with ice cream delivery service. Is that too much to ask?

Unfortunately, being a time traveler makes that impossible. Not only does she have to keep going to school, but she is forced to spend time with Gideon alone! The only thing that makes it bearable is being able to go back and see her grandfather. He is the only one she can really trust. The two of them begin to suspect that St. Germain may have a bigger scheme at hand.

The breakthrough in their plot against St. Germain comes with the discovery of the second chronometer, allowing Gwen to time travel outside of the Order's strict watch. Can they discover St. Germain's plot? Can she work with Gideon after he stomped on her heart? Will her grandfather come through for them before it's too late?

The final twist may prove too much for Gwen, and it may be at the expense of her life.

A fitting end to this enjoyable time traveling trilogy (see what I did there?), Gier manages to balance the romance with adventure rather well. Even I could stomach it! You won't want to miss this thrilling conclusion.
“You mean he's not afraid of me because I'm a woman? He ought to see Tomb Raider sometime. For all he knows, I could have a nuclear bomb under my dress and a hand grenade in each cup of my bra. I call it antifeminist!” (Gier, 2013).
*Library Link*

If you liked this, check out:

These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner (Starbound, Book 1)
The Archived by Victoria Schwab (The Archived, Book 1)
Cinder by Marissa Meyer (Lunar Chronicles, Book 1)

Gier, Kerstin, & Bell, A. (2013). Emerald Green. New York : Henry Holt and Company, 2013.